Introduction: $12 Headliner Recover.
this is for those that have a ugly/dirty headliner. if yours is sagging it will involve a little more work. I did all this for a little more than $12.00 and about an afternoon.
Step 1: Foreplay
first examine your headliner. if its sagging consider replacing the foam and fabric as a whole. I detail this process in step 7 below.
1. start by removing dome lights/courtesy lights. these need to be unplugged/disconnected to feed the parts through or just push them through the openings. some vehicles dome covers just pry off some need to be unscrewed but all need to be done slowly and carefully or your gonna make a trip to the junkyard. some lenses can be squished/squeezed to release them but be careful. mine was held in place by 3 tabs and just had to be bent slightly and pushed forward to release it. the dome light plug then was unclipped and pushed on top of the headliner.
2. next unscrew visors/sunshades. most vehicles are held in place by screws. i know most cars i have seen have three screws attaching the visor to a plastic plate that is mounted to the roof structure. three screws each for mine.
3. pry out any clips, these are usually push in style and can be pulled out but be careful and take your time. I almost destroyed one of mine but all 3 came out. I might replace mine with black ones since I'm changing the color of the fabric.
4. the headliner is usually held in place by all three types of retainers and by the interior plastic panels. these usually can be pulled out as they are tension fit. but look for screws as all vehicles are different.
5. once the retainers are removed carefully maneuver the headliner down without bending it. its best to lay the front seats back as far as they can go and bring it out the front passenger door as that has the most room. mine was easy with slight bending and taking my time. once out I managed to push the panels back into place so it doesn't look too bad while I do the reupholstering.
Step 2: Bondage
i have seen the Elmer's glue posts and read all the disputing claims over which adhesive is best and I have to say I have used something called super 77 by 3M and I have followed the directions and it has held on vinyl on door panels and replacing the foam and fabric of a complete headliner redo. i also have covered a set of door pillars and it held pretty good. since I'm only covering the existing headliner I only need it to keep the fabric from falling.
this time I'm gonna try loctites version of the super77. its a high performance spray adhesive with middleweight bonding(not sure if that's good or not)
Step 3: Lingerie
this next step is entirely up to you. I prefer to go to the fabric section of my local Walmart or Joann fabrics. I like to touch all of the fabrics(I know its weird but keep reading.) I want to see how thick the material is because I have seen some that looked perfect only to put my hand behind it and I can see my fingerprints and some material is so thick it won't bend around the parts I'm covering. so I touch the ones I like and hold it up and try to visualize it on the part. you can also bring the part in as most fabric places understand creativity. the sale ladies I have dealt with have all been cooperative and willing to help with the right purchase. I bought a yard and a bit of black felt for about $4.99 a yard. again this part is completely up to you but i urge you to spend some time thinking if you want a pattern or solid or a crazy bright sparkly sequined fabric .
Step 4: Climax
time to get to work. the prep for recovering is easy. put the headliner on a surface that you can maneuver around. I chose my dogs inside cage (he was outside playing so I wasn't worried about him breathing in fumes).
1.start by smoothing the fabric out on the headliner. I lined up the edges and since the pretty girl at Joanns (Shelby was her name) cut it a little more than a yard I had a little extra to overhang the edges.
2. after lining up the edges I folded it in half onto itself lengthwise exposing the headliner.
3. spray the adhesive on somewhat carefully avoiding soaking the material. I laid it on a little more even on the visor indents. I needed it to stick to those points.
4. after letting it tack up (dry) for only a minute or four I gently touched my fingertips to the glued section to see how sticky it was getting.
5. gently I smoothed the material working from one end to the other. smoothing wrinkles. if your careful you won't have to pull the material up and relay the fabric.
6. go drink a beer and wait for it to dry completely.
Step 5: Shaved Bare
i used a cheap dollar store razor and set of safety shears to trim the edges and cutout around the visor openings. I used a standard steak knife to slit open the retainer pins openings again be careful. trim close to the edges only if you don't intend to wrap the excess around the back side. the excess can be wrapped and tacked down using any glue or adhesive including a hot glue gun. this side is not seen but don't overdo it. mine was trimmed right to the edges bc I have plastic covering about a half inch of the outer edge.
note: be careful using sharp instruments as you could seriously injure yourself.
Step 6: Happy Ending
1. once completed you can reinstall the headliner. start by going in through the pass front door. work it in slowly to not destroy your had work.
2. put the headliner up pulling the trim panels aside and slowly work it back into place. use the retainers to hold the headliner up and don't forget the dome light wire.
3. push all the clips and things back into place carefully lining up all the holes.
4. reconnect the dome light and reattach the visors, coat hooks, and the various clips.
5. go drink a beer and enjoy your work.
Step 7: Bikini Wax
if you had to remove the headliner foam due to sagging then when you get it out of the vehicle make sure have a dirty area for the stuff that will fall off.
1. start by pulling the fabric off slowly and gently trying to not destroy the hard layer that it attaches to.
2. you should now see the foam backing still sticking to the hard cardboard. if you do grab your handy dandy wire bristle brush. (think toothbrush for jaws from James Bond ).
3. at this time you can now reapply some adhesive and this is when you should use the super77 or similar.
4. wait for it to get tacky and not like wearing a brown velour leisure suit tacky. like a movie theater floor kinda sticky.
5. carefully apply the foam backed headliner and work it slowly but steadily into the indents and try and push it a little into the holes.
6. once you have let the glue "cure" go ahead and reinstall the headliner.
7. now go drink a beer and enjoy your handiwork and not having to use all those pushpins, corkscrewed paper clips and staples and whatever else you have used to hold that sagging piece of poor limp excuse for upholstery. BTW I been drinking a bit so sorry for the rambling. I toon my own advice and had a beer after every step...
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